A poorly prepared hiker who spent a chilly night behind Grouse Mountain was spared from a much worse ordeal by a pack of matches, according to the team who rescued him.
The man, in his 30s, set out on a day hike from North Vancouver’s Lynn Headwaters Regional Park early Saturday, planning to loop around the back of Grouse via Hanes Valley and complete the walk before nightfall.
The victim, equipped with only hiking boots, jeans and a light jacket, wasn’t prepared for the wintry conditions at higher elevations, however, according to rescuers. He soon got bogged down in deep snow, and as night fell, was forced to settle in and wait for help.
When the man didn’t emerge from the forest at the expected time, worried family members called police. Investigators eventually passed the call on to North Shore Rescue, who launched a search a little before midnight.
While teams made their way into the area on foot, a police helicopter scoured Hanes Valley by air, and soon spotted the victim near an emergency station. The man had used one of the few pieces of equipment he had brought with him — a pack of matches — to light a fire. The crew made contact with him by loud hailer, and when he said he was OK, the rescuers opted to call off the operation until dawn, when it would be safer to pick him up. The man was left alone in the dark for several hours, until another air team could swoop in a little after first light. The victim was cold but unharmed, according to rescuers.
“If it had been really bad weather, it would have been a problem,” said North Shore Rescue team leader Tim Jones. “He was minimally clothed. . . . He was lucky it was dry.”
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